Get ready for a MINI launch! The British firm has announced a daring new concept called the Rocketman – and it blasted off at the Geneva Motor Show.
Boasting seats for four in a package not much bigger than the original Sixties model, it’s the mini MINI we’ve all been waiting for – and Auto Express was granted exclusive access to the newcomer before the expo.
At 3,419mm long and 1,907mm wide, the baby MINI is about 40cm longer and 50cm wider than the original.
The Rocketman borrows
technology from owner BMW’s forthcoming Megacity electric car, which uses a carbon fibre spaceframe to reduce weight – and rather than hide it, MINI has left it exposed around the grille and front apron.
At the rear, the hexagonal lines mirror the nose, and MINI’s famous ‘Coke-can’ exhaust pipe gets a central position in the bumper. The quirky, handle-style tail-lights project on to the bodywork, rather than face straight out, and incorporate
the brake and indicator lamps.
The trademark Union Jack roof makes a return as a full-length glass panel, using the car’s structural beams to create the diagonal and horizontal lines.
Getting in to the Rocketman isn’t as difficult as you might
think thanks to the double-hinged doors which allow for a wide opening.
Despite the cabin’s small dimensions, MINI claims it is spacious enough for four adults, and the seats can be arranged into three different layouts. As
a two-seater, the front chairs move as far back as needed, while the instrument cluster can also be moved.
Then there's a fourth chair in the rear, which is a temporary device that folds down out of a backpack attached to the rear seat. It’s a similar configuration to that in Toyota’s innovative iQ.
clever boot too. It consists of two parts, with the upper section
a traditional roof-hinged hatch and the bottom part a drawer.
There’s no official word
on what sits under the bonnet
of the newcomer, but it’s likely that any production model will be powered by BMW’s
petrol and diesel engines. All MINI has said is that the Rocketman will be capable of 94mpg.
The best news of all is that
the firm is committed to making sure each of its concept cars goes into production – with the exception of the Beachcomber, which was unable to meet safety
regulations. So, the MINI we’ve all been waiting for is almost certain to reach showrooms in around five years time.